When I was a little girl, falling asleep under a ceiling fan swirl of muggy air, listening to birds, bats, and drums, my mom or dad would come in and sing me a song. I’m pretty sure I asked for “Go, Tell it on the Mountain” and “Away in the Manger” every other day for a year. And my parents sang to me of Jesus and His balm for my soul.
When I went to boarding school, my sweet mom made me a tape. She was singing the Jesus-songs and giving them to me for comfort when I was far from home for the first time.
Now, at night, after supper, after the daily daddy wrestling-match, after teeth-brushing and washing, my little family sits on the couch and reads God’s Word. Then we sing! And we dance. Our singing is not necessarily in tune, and our dancing is certainly not ballet or even in time, but we are enthusiastic as we rejoice in the Lord, we make a glad sound to him and we move our bodies in worship. And I pray that my kiddos are comforted and strengthened by the songs of Jesus, even as I am.
This is a prompt from the Gypsy Mama. Go check out her blog, and the other Five Minute Friday posts.
The boys and I all have colds so we stayed away from our Sunday worship gathering yesterday. I had grand plans of sweet time with Luke in the morning reading the Scripture passages that teach us of Palm Sunday, and doing a little craft. Instead, we spent an hour battling over his breakfast. But after resolving that, and a little bit of down time, we did proceed to celebrate Palm Sunday together. I’m so thankful that the Lord has given me time to spend with my little guys, especially to enjoy God’s grace to us together.
We’ve been reading Easter story books all through Lent, so I just read straight from my Bible the passage in Matthew and Mark that tell of Jesus humbly entering Jerusalem and the crowds gathered around them. Luke wanted to draw a donkey, so we did that. I drew one for him to copy, and I am so proud of how well he did drawing the donkey (I helped with the head).
Luke loves to cut, so we made some palm branches from green construction paper and had a parade for Jesus. That was super fun, marching around the house and shouting “Hosanna!” together.
Later that evening, after lunch and naps, we made our Easter mountain. All growing up, my family made mud sculptures, and this is a way to carry on that tradition with a little twist to make it our own. Mud is not as easily available here as clay, and it’s much more messy… We had a good time working on it all together.
At least until I set off the smoke alarm while we were baking it. I’m really good at that: setting off the smoke alarm! Anyway, with the Easter mountain, we’ll get to act out much of the story of the week leading up the Jesus death and resurrection. I’m really excited about this tangible way to explain this crucial story to Luke. We made pipe cleaner people, and little props like palm branches and paper coins. So far we’ve acted out the triumphal entry and Jesus cleansing the temple.
Bret and Luke set out this weekend to make a stool for Luke to use in the bathroom. I think they were both pretty excited to work together after a week of intense work for Bret, and missing Daddy for Luke. So the soldiered on even though the weather was less than comfy for working outside.
Luke got to help measure and mark the boards.
I think he’s feeling like big stuff over this job.
Do you know how difficult it is to get a picture of two working men? This is the only good picture I got of both of them looking at the camera. They’re sanding the already-assembled stool.
Luke is obviously taking staining the stool very seriously. This is his concentrating face.
And here’s the finished product!
One of the facets of mama-hood that I really enjoy is celebrating holidays in a way that points my family to Jesus. My mo did a fabulous job of making traditions for our family that are fun and meaningful, and I love to do the same for my boys. I value traditions because they knit a family together more strongly, and provide continuity from year-to-year. I especially want our traditions to glorify God. So I’ve been anticipating Easter and prayerfully considering what we can do as a family to center this time around Christ, focussing on his great suffering and jubilant resurrection.
We are for sure going to do Lenten Lights (free download here). I love doing this. Each week, during the reading, we blow out a candle and I am always struck by the visual symbolism of the darkness of Good Friday, and the bright rejoicing of Easter morning, when we light all the candles again. I’m hoping to make Easter morning a special, rejoicing time for our family. Alongside the Lenten Lights readings on Sundays, during our weeknight family devotions, we’re going to be talking about 25 reasons why God raised Jesus from the dead, which is a list that we discussed and wrote down with Bret’s family one Easter.
With Luke, I’m planning this year to use Noel Piper’s idea from Treasuring God in our Traditions, and make an Easter Mountain. We haven’t done this before, but I think he’s old enough to understand and enjoy it this year. The basic idea is to have a physical representation of the events of the Passion and Easter to help Luke understand what Jesus accomplished for us. My family did something similar to this growing up, except with West African red mud, and it was always fun, and messy.
Personally, I’m excited this year to read Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, by Nancy Guthrie. Which is “a collection of 25 short readings drawn from the works of classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers that will lead readers into thoughtful contemplation of the cross.” I’ve also, since Christmas, been reading The Person of Christ by Donald MacLeod, and the Lord is continually using it to make me marvel at Christ, who He is, and His great work on my behalf. I’m hopeful that these two books will stir my heart to worship and truly observe Good Friday and celebrate Easter.
I’d love to hear what you will be doing to focus your family’s hearts on Christ this Easter season!
I have such a good time doing little projects or crafts with Luke. I keep it super simple, and he has a great time. He likes doing new things and my undivided attention. He’s learning so much right now; its exciting to foster that learning and watch him as he grows. I also try to use the creative, crafting time to teach him about God, the Creator of all things.
This past week, his Sunday School lesson was over the story of God sending fire from heaven in 1 Kings 18:20-40, with the emphasis that there is only one God. I try to review what he’s learning in SS at home – it’s simple for me to use the take home sheet and the more times and more ways he hears a story or concept, the more likely he is to remember it. So we made fire; but it was a great opportunity to explain that the only way we can make fire is from something else. God is God Alone and he can make fire from nothing. So we worship Him!
Luke got to cut with scissors for the first time (I think) and glue all by himself, while we talked about the Only God and the He Alone is worthy of our worship.
I love getting to have this time with him to teach him about the Holy God and encourage his creativity. What do you mamas do with your little ones to show them the Lord and/or help them learn?
“Just as an artist who paints pictures and portraits exercises great care in his work, so each of you, mothers and fathers, must be attentive to these wonderful images [your children]. Each day, a painter adds what is necessary to the picture. Sculptors do the same, removing excess stone and adding what is lacking. You should do the same: as makers of images, devote all your time to the task of fashioning wonderful images for God. Remove the excess; add what is lacking. Each day, examine the images closely. Cultivate the natural excellence that each one has, removing what is by nature inferior….teach them to be sober, vigilant, watchful in prayer, and to place everything that is said and done under the sign of the cross.”
–John Chrysostom (c. 347–407), On Vainglory and the Education of Children, 22:
HT: Girl Talk
Last night, when he was going to bed, my little buddy wanted to “Hold you, Mama” and pray. This is what he said:
“Thank You, God… Daddy!
Thank You, God… Mama!
Thank You, God… Rainbow!
Thank You, God… Cross!
Thank You, God.. Bible!
Thank You, God… Daddy!
Thank you, God… Mama!”
Then we said Amen and he went to sleep. I loved the opportunity to see his sweet little heart and to hear that our teaching and modeling love and thankfulness for Jesus and each other is sinking in.